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I’ve been enjoying my prize, signed-by-the-author copy of Modern Patchwork for a week now. It lives on my pile of quilt inspiration books on the table in my bedroom, and it’s actually displaced Denyse Schmidt’s Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration in the top stack spot. That, my friends, is the highest kind of praise.

Hartman’s blog, Oh, Fransson! is one of my favorite quilt blogs. Hartman’s style is so different from my own. She’s a strict quilting modernist, with an occasionally whimsical representational side. (Her newest pattern, Refrigerator Magnets, is exactly what I mean.) I enjoy her style because it’s so refreshing to look at different things. I’d never dream of the quilt designs she comes up with, and her approach is very unique. Lots of quilters say they’re modern quilters, but rely on classic blocks made in modern fabrics to get where they’re going. Not Elizabeth Hartman. She’s absolutely unafraid to come up with new blocks, new designs, new ways to think about the quilt.

This book, her second, is full of new quilts. My husband enjoyed paging through and picking out quilts he liked. He says they remind him of IQ tests, where you have to figure out the emerging pattern and guess which block comes next. He chose the most challenging quilt in the book–Escape Artist–as the one he’d like most to have. I promised I’d at least consider making a queen-sized version for our putative new bed in our putative new home this winter fingerscrossed. Even though this quilt looks terribly challenging, Hartman’s written some beautifully detailed instructions and diagrams, and I feel like I can just about get my mind around the project with her help.

I also think Hartman is great at helping quilters with the basics without seeming condescending. This book is meant as a next step for intermediate quilters, quilters who feel they’ve conquered the basics of patchwork and are ready for some challenge quilts. And then there’s me: I live for a quilt challenge, but don’t really have all my basics down, because I am so self-taught. Hartman’s helpfully included sections on basic techniques (pinning! I’ve already changed the way I pin my blocks at her suggestion, and oh my gosh what a difference) and fabric choices, illuminating some of the aspects of quilting I find most difficult.

In short I’d recommend this book, even to a beginning quilter, because it’s a fresh, new look at quilting. Hartman’s pushed the boundaries of modern quilting past their simple beginnings (please, please, no more wonky log cabins), and I feel much more ready to take on my first real “modern” quilting project with her guidance.

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